A regular public meeting of council was held Monday, Nov. 23 at council chambers. The Express has written a brief from the meeting, and the rest of the agenda and bullet points are available at the District of Vanderhoof website, www.vanderhoof.ca
Chamber of Commerce presentation
Vanderhoof’s Chamber of Commerce presented a list of priorities brought forward by business members over the past several months.
Lesley Chaisson, manager, made the presentation on behalf of the Chamber.
Some of the topics in their list included:
1. Encourage and increase local commerce to the downtown core: The Chamber requested the District to create and/or identify a funding stream to increase the Chamber’s ability to engage more businesses on a more regular basis, to increase their membership and continue to create a strong business community.
2. Commercial Cardboard Recycling: Cardboard was banned from being disposed at the Vanderhoof Transfer Station in 2016. Connexus/Mobile Work Crew provide commercial cardboard recycling pick-up for a fee. The Chamber is exploring ways to deal with commercial cardboard issues such as transportation costs, new processing facility, etc. They are also gathering stories and information from various member businesses on how they deal with commercial cardboard currently and their recommendations. And the Chamber is also working with Nechako Waste Reduction Initiative to offer support in lobbying for a Solid Waste Management solution for Vanderhoof’s business community. In their request to the District, the Chamber asked for clarification and support to ensure that business property taxes are being adjusted down to reflect the loss of cardboard collection service through the RDBN.
3. Loss of workers due to CERB: The Chamber said they know at least five businesses in Vanderhoof whose employees quit to collect CERB benefits. These buinesses have also had a hard time finding new employees, as many people were not seeking work due to the benefit. Even though CERB has ended, feds are rolling out other benefits including the Canada Recovery Benefit. The Chamber has requested the District to help direct businesses, through their networks, to the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 webpage, that lists all current government initiatives and supports.
4. CGL Camp Communcation: The Chamber has been working closely with the Public Affairs Coordinator at the camp in Vanderhoof to talk about any suggestions or needs from the Camp side of things. Their request from the District is that they help spread the word through their networks that the Chamber and local businesses are adapting to accomodate the CGL camp and its workers with initiatives like the Community Event Centre bus and local businesses opening on Sundays.
2021 Council Representatives for external agencies
All members of council are assigned to the Vanderhoof Community Forest Board.
Municipal councillors were assigned to external agencies as being the point-of-contact for that agency.
Coun. Brian Frenkel – Municipal Finance Association of B.C., Vanderhoof Airport Development Society
Coun. Ken Young – Municipal Finance Association of B.C., Nechako Valley Historical Society
Coun. John Murphy – Municipal Insurance Association of B.C.
Coun. Spencer Siemens – Prince George Treaty Advisory Committee
Mayor Gerry Thiessen – Northern Development Initiative Trust, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako Transit and Hospital District Committee
Coun. Cyndi Lauze – Vanderhoof Public Library, Nechako Waste Reduction Initiative
Coun. Kevin Moutray – Nechako Watershed roundtable, Mount Milligan Community Sustainability Committee, Nechako Waste Reduction Initiative.
Public Works Department Update
The Public Works Department gave an update to council. Below are their ongoing projects:
1. Snow Removal: Staff has transitioned into snow plowing and removal from municipal streets, sidewalks, trails and sanding.
2. Vanderhoof Arena: A second COVID-19 protocol plan amendment request has been submitted to the District, as the Ice Users have requested for a second washroom in the facility to be open.
3. Riverside Park Washrooms: The unit is expected to arrive in late December.
4. Riverside Multi-use pathway: The project is scheduled for completion in Spring 2021, as the project was impacted by the early arrival of winter conditions.
5. District equipment: A new dump-truck is expected to arrive mid-December.
Fire Department Update
As per the Fire Department’s report to council, the local fire hall has responded to 75 fire calls and 59 motor vehicle incidents since Nov. 16, 2019.
Vanderhoof Fire Department is also celebrating the department’s 90 years of service anniversary in 2020.
“The Department takes pride in continuing to provide professional Fire and Rescue services to our community,” Fire Chief Ian Leslie wrote in his report.